Introduction: Clean Greasy Hands With Lotion - the Poor Man's Gojo

Picture of Clean Greasy Hands With Lotion - the Poor Man's Gojo

To clean dirty greasy hands, slobber lots of skin lotion onto them, work it around, and then wipe it off onto a rag. Most of the dirty grease will come off with the lotion.
Technique demonstrated by Star.

To make it work even better, before starting your dirty work, rub lots of lotion into your hands .
Especially work it under your nails. In the cleanup phase, an old toothbrush works great for cleaning fingernails.

Step 1: Work It In

Picture of Work It In

In theory oil and water can't mix, and we're mostly made of water, but somehow dirty grease really likes to stick to human hands.

The lotion contains emulsifiers such as lecithin that make it possible for oil and water to mix.
So the wet lotion greedily mixes with the dirty grease and loosens it from your hands.

Step 2: Wipe With Rag

Picture of Wipe With Rag

It helps if you sing your favorite car mechanic song while you do this.

Step 3: Clean!

Picture of Clean!

And Cinderella's off to the ball!

Repeat as necessary, and if you're a real cleanliness freak you can proceed to a sink to continue the process with soap and water.

It doesn't much matter what kind of lotion you use, probably the cheaper the better.
It might work with butter also, please report back if that works for you.


rebecca.iffinger (author)2015-03-19

gojo is cheaper than any lotion I've come across

KittyF (author)2011-10-10

butter costs 4 dollars a pound. not happening in this lifetime. teehee

although you're right, in a pinch any grease/oil/lotion will work to loosen machine grease. machine grease is much heavier and what you're doing is using a lighter (not to mention-CLEANER) oil to thin it out and make it come off on the rag easier and more completely.

you could even use machine oil to loosen it, but machine oil drys the skin I think.

prosoap (author)2010-12-13

Prosoap is a great soap for hands that work!

DIYCharlie (author)2010-09-29

If you're doing any painting, especially with a sprayer, apply some lotion to your hands, arms, sprayer, watch, facial hair, before starting. When you're finished, the paint just wipes right off the the most part. Areas where the lotion can be rubbed off will not fare as well.

desya (author)2010-07-10

I have been telling trick to my friends for after checking their cars oil.... most women have a small bottle of lotion in their purse... always good to have on hand...and paper towel to rub extra off

rat_bone (author)2009-02-13

Another cheap way to clean really greasy hands while working on motor vehicles is to use a little motor oil (even used oil). Put a little on your hands and rub them together. The oil loosens the grease quickly and easily, then just wipe the oil and grease off on a rag and wash your hands with soap and water to remove the oily residue.

johnny3h (author)rat_bone2010-06-06

I agree. I've used motor oil [both fresh and used] for heavy grease and grime removal from my hands and it works great. I'm glad you mentioned the need to wash the oil residue off of out of you hands because over the last few years it has become well known that motor oil can be absorbed into the body through the skin, and removal with soap an water is the only sure method of avoiding the contamination. Also, I've read that the "used" motor / crankcase oils are loaded with harmful compounds, AND micro particals of engine wear metals!!!!! So, as rat_bone indicates, IF using motor oils to clean hands, be sure to follow immediately with thorough hand washing with lots of soap and water!!!!!

Una (author)2010-05-21

Crisco works great for this.

Clayton H. (author)2008-08-21

My dad works at a place that is really greasy and he lets me use the cool metal cutting tools for projects. well anyway I get really greasy and he has a special soap called "magic soap" which is just soap with sand in it and it works like a charm.

loppy96 (author)Clayton H.2009-08-04

i use coffe grounds mixed with dawn gets out all the gunk used coffe grounds of course

turnerfromdh (author)Clayton H.2008-11-08

its also called lava soap

Works great.

Clayton H. (author)Yerboogieman2009-06-07

Now my High School woodshop has this stuff called "cherry bomb" works well and smells like cherrys, mmmm.

zero838 (author)turnerfromdh2009-02-09

yea its called "lava soap" or "fast orange" is another one

is that the stuff that's red with the pumice in it? I've seen it in the local publix and was tempted to buy it.

think so

Yerboogieman (author)2009-06-06

Well, you forgot about the oils on your skin.

yanggers (author)2009-04-13

Most elegant! hands feel great after degreasing! I will try this (and other methods suggested in comments) on cleaning the bike chain drive!

pudicobar (author)2008-11-25

My best trick is using regular soap + a luffa sponge... This is great!!! The secret is to rinse the luffa from time to time. Black greasy paws become nice clean and good smelling hands

Fast Eddie (author)2008-11-25

Great idea here. I'll have to try this next time. Up till now, the best Ive found is just plain old powdered laundry detergent. Tide, Sunlight, whatever... Old timer machinists trick. Any old shop will have a small dish of Tide beside the sink. Seems alot more sensible than mixing sand (dirt) with soap to get the same result, eh? ;)

2ManyProjects (author)2008-11-18

I used to use dishsoap, but it was seriously drying out my skin. I think I will try lotion next time. Thanks!

thylacine (author)2008-11-13

When I worked in a printshop, rather that clean up oil based inks w/ solvents, we would use vegetable oil and rags for the initial cleaning, and then simple green or some other strong detergent to clean up the oil residue. Worked very well and much better than a petroleum based solution.

jedij585 (author)2008-08-06

The best grease cutter for hands after working with oil is liquid dish soap. It is made specifically for cutting grease from dishes and works awesome on skin as well.

Zengineer1618 (author)2008-06-30

Baby oil works really well too for removal of oil / grease from hands. It also removes some sticky residues that are left from some of types adhesive tapes and labels.

flactemnad (author)2007-10-28

Baking soda + soap is my favorite for greasy hands. The baking soda will quickly break down the greasyness, soap is good for a little more cleaning power. It's a bit drying on the skin though, so a little lotion at the end is a good idea too.

carpespasm (author)2007-09-08

i've made homemade gojo with play sand and a gallon jug of hand lotion before. worked well and was much cheaper than a gallon jug of gojo.

Ohm (author)2007-08-20

Yeah I think the lotion well end up costing a lot more to essentially waste cleaning you hands. By a bar of lava soap if you only need it on rare ocations, you well need the lotion after that tough. Also there are products that you can apply to your hands and arms before hand that help keep the grease from sticking as badly, often called by the generic name of liquid gloves.

Sintax (author)2007-08-19

Seriously try olive oil next time, It gets rid of grease very fast.

zachninme (author)Sintax2007-08-20

Then you're left with oily hands! D:

zachninme (author)2007-08-20

Why not just wash them with soap?

!Andrew_Modder! (author)2007-08-19

just stright up lotion? i prefur dishsoap. also did you know you can find GoJo or Lava-(like GoJo) at doller stores?

Weissensteinburg (author)2007-08-19

If you include videos of you singing a few different mechanics songs, I'll give you a +


About This Instructable




Bio: Tim Anderson is the author of the "Heirloom Technology" column in Make Magazine. He is co-founder of, manufacturers of "3D Printer" output ... More »
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